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Early scare, but Atkinson still eighth

Subaru rally driver Chris Atkinson remains in eighth place after the second day of competition at Rally Catalunya, despite an early scare that nearly ended his rally early.

On the day’s second stage Atkinson slightly misjudged a corner and slid wide on the exit of a left-hander, ending up on two wheels and was lucky not to roll.

“It was a really close moment when I turned in to a corner, expecting it to slide a little and the car just gripped,” Atkinson said.

“We hit the guardrail on the inside, and the impact ripped the wheel out of my hands. We slewed across the road and hit the outside guardrail which put the car up on two wheels. We were very lucky not to roll.”

“Then on the next stage there’s a corner you take flat in fifth, and with the damaged rear wheel and tyre it was the biggest drift I have ever done! So all in all it’s been an eventful morning.”

Having lost touch with the seventh-placed Jari-Matti Latvala, Atkinson settled for a more conservative approach across the rest of the day.

“The idea at the start of the day was to move up a place, but after that mistake we backed out of the challenge and we’ve pretty much settled for eighth now.”

“We’re driving at a comfortable pace, trying not to take any risks and concentrating on getting to the finish.”

Atkinson is three minutes 27.2 seconds behind the leader Sebastien Loeb and now 28.6 behind Latvala.

The competition remains tight at the top of the field, with Loeb leading Daniel Sordo by just 12.9 seconds with Marcus Gronholm third a further 30.7 seconds back.

Subaru World Rally Team driver Petter Solberg is sixth while Xavier Pons is in ninth in his Impreza WRC2007.

Tomorrow’s leg is the shortest of the rally, consisting of four stages. The two separate routes, Riudecanyes and Colldejou, are each run twice for a total of 85.66 competitive kilometres. Once again the stages track west approximately 80km from PortAventura.

Results at end of Leg Two, Rally Catalunya

1, Loeb / Elena, CITROËN C4, 02:30:45.5, 00.0
2, Sordo / Marti, CITROËN C4, 02:30:58.4, +12.9
3, Grönholm / Rautiainen, FORD Focus RS WRC 07, 02:31:29.1, +43.6
4, Hirvonen / Lehtinen, FORD Focus RS WRC 07, 02:31:58.0, +01:12.5
5, Duval / Pivato, CITROËN XSARA WRC, 02:32:43.6, +01:58.1
6, Solberg / Mills, SUBARU Impreza WRC2007, 02:33:17.3, +02:31.8
7, Latvala / Anttila, FORD Focus RS WRC 06, 02:33:44.1, +02:58.6
8, Atkinson / Prevot, SUBARU Impreza WRC2007, 02:34:12.7, +03:27.2
9, Pons / Amigo, SUBARU Impreza WRC2007, 02:35:04.5, +04:19.0
10, Solberg / Menkerud, FORD Focus RS WRC 06, 02:38:49.5, +08:04.